Play and Meaning in Early Childhood Education / Edition 1

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Focusing on ages 0-8, this book integrates contemporary theories of play with curriculum practice. This book matches the process of teaching young children to the ways in which young children develop meaning. It provides a bridge between child development and curriculum studies. The book is divided into four sections: two theoretical and two practical. The theoretical sections make concepts accessible by providing clear definitions, specific examples, and illustrating their relationship to play. The practical sections deal with how to develop environmental design, begin the year, organize a classroom, and implement numerous practical ways for teachers to use playful approaches in early childhood instruction. For early childhood educators and care givers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205296507
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 7.01 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Each chapter concludes with a "Concluding Statement."


1. What is Worthwhile Learning?

Toward a Dynamic Theory of Play and Meaning.

Linear Teaching.

Non-Linear Teaching.

Ethical Teaching.



2. A Definition of Play: Conditions for Integrated Learning.

What is a Definition of Play?

The Continuum of Psychological-Individual and Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Play.

3. A Vision of Play in Early. Childhood Education.

Imagine Classrooms.

How Do Infants Play During their Waking Hours?

When Do Toddlers Ever Stop Moving?

When Will Preschoolers Get Closure?

How Much Literacy Can Kindergarten Children use in their Play?

How Elaborately Will Primary Children Construct their Buildings?

What Are Some Characteristics of Play that Span Development?

4. What Research Says About Play and Meaning in Early Childhood.

Play as Integrated Learning.

Play Influences Development.

Social Development.

When Do Children Participate in Pretense?

Cognitive Development.

Realistic and Unstructured Playthings.

Individual Variations.


Language Development.

Creative Development.

5. Brain Research and Meaning.

Influence of Enrichment and Connections.

Influence of Feedback and Stress.

Influence of Early Experiences.

Influence of Personal Meaning.


6. Socio-Dramatic Play and Script Theory: Socio-Dramatic Play as a Representation.

Script Theory and Narrative Structures.

Shared Predictability and Collaborative Novelty.

Meta-Communication may Predominate.

Seamless Negotiation Between Imagery and Meta-Communication.

Linear and Non-Linear Imagery Processes Interact.

Diverse Cultural Context and Content.

Emotional, Moral, and Cosmic Issues.

Group Identity and Stereotypes.

7. Chaos and Complexity Theory.

Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions.

Self-Organization of Systems.


Complexity Theory and Phase Transitions.

8. Theory of Mind.

Concluding Statement: Toward a Dynamic Theory of Play and Meaning.


9. Beginning with Non-Linear Environmental Design.


Infants and Toddlers.

Preschool and Kindergarten.

Primary Grades.

The Teacher Circulates.

10. Classroom Organization.

Setting Up Space to Support Play and Meaning.

Traffic Patterns.

The Socio-Dramatic Play Area in Particular.

Other Forms of Play.

How Might Teachers Influence Children's Development?

11. Building Play into Curriculum Strands: Play is a Condition for Learning.

Quantitive Knowing.

Physical Knowing.

Social Knowing.

Representational Knowing.

Planning for Representational Forms.

12. Dynamic Themes: Weaving the Strands.

Teachers and Children Constructive Dynamic Themes.

Teachers Match Dynamic Themes, Experiences and Children.

How Non-Linear Theory Works (and Plays Out) in Non-Linear Practice.


13. Present and Future Issues: The Power of Play.

Cultural Contexts.

Teachers Appreciate Diversity.

Work-Play Issues.

14. Controversial Subject Matter.

What to Play?

When to Play?

The Power of Play as an Assessment Tool.

15. Non-Linear Dynamic theory and Practice in a Linear Context.

Advocating for Children's Play: Some Questions and Answers for Parents and Other Policy Makers.

An Executive Summary: The Power of Play in Early Education.

Ways to Communicate Children's Progress to Parents.

Conclusion: What is the Present Place of Play in Early Education for the Future?

From Academic to Intellectual Early Education for the Future?

A Balanced Future: The Future in Balance.


Appendix A: Socio-Dramatic Play Themes of Four-Year-Olds with House, Hospital, and Block. Socio-Dramatic Play Themes of Two-to-Six-Year-Old Children.

Appendix B: Cyclical Change: Dynamic Theme Experiences.

Appendix C: Dialectical Activity: Dynamic Theme Experiences.

Appendix D: Indirect Progress: Dynamic Theme Experiences.

Appendix E: Synergy: Dynamic Theme Experiences.

Appendix F: Double Bind: Dynamic Theme Experiences.



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